Published by BOOM! Studios
Written by Simon Spurrier
Illustrated by Jeffrey Edwards and V Ken Marion
$3.99, 24 Pages
Nox and the Red Reaper now have a friend. They've rescued Promethean (a sort of Greek god with the power of regeneration) from a group of survivors that were cutting off pieces of him to eat. It makes sense after all. Everything grows back. They have a goal now though. They're off to wake Absolute, the would-be Superman of this world who went missing when everything went to hell. With his help they can put a stop to the alien menace that has destroyed the planet.
This issue is broken up by flashbacks from Nox. These are drawn by V Ken Marion, so there's a very different style to them. These memories give us a glimpse into the relationship between the dark avenger and Absolute, which was not the buddy-buddy friendship that Superman and Batman shared. These were a nice way to keep the story moving and provide some much needed background on these characters. There's still so much to learn about them and how everything got as bad as it did. We're finally getting to the nitty-gritty of what makes some of them tick.
Jeffrey Edwards handled the artwork on the present day scenes. I love the bizarre aliens that Nox and Red Reaper encounter here. This kind of stuff must have been fun to draw. Edwards gets a little overshadowed by Marion though but that's due to the content. Marion's panels are set in the past where things were bright and shiny and people weren't afraid to step foot outside. His work has some tight pencils with incredible detail, but Edwards' sections often get washed out in the doom and gloom of the present.
Extermination is quickly becoming a book that's on the top of my "To Read" pile each time it's released. It's the kind of smart, adult comic that should be more prevalent in the industry today. You don't have to have a mature title that's filled with nudity and gross-out gore. It can be terrifying without having to show someone's insides being torn out...but it helps.
|'68: Scars #2
Published by Image Comics
Written by Mark Kidwell
Illustrated by Nat Jones
$3.99, 32 Pages
The Vietnam War was bad enough without the threat of the undead looming, but such is the case in the world of '68. This dual storyline continues this month as Joe and Faye cower in their storefront in New York with zombies crowding around their door. A ray of hope arrives in the form of a snowplow and some soldiers with a flamethrower. Meanwhile, Yam wakes up in a medical bay in Saigon and gets a bit more acquainted with his new comrades. There's also Seal team out in the woods that's looking for a way out of this mess.
'68: Scars gives you a worldwide look at a zombie apocalypse during the Vietnam War. It's not just zombies on the battlefield. They're stateside too, so even if the battle ends, the real war is just beginning. What I'm surprised about is that author Mark Kidwell is able to bounce between each of these plot lines without making things seem scarce. Each one is given enough time to grow and make me want more.
Nat Jones delivers some dynamite art on '68: Scars. It starts off with that awesome cover and just keeps going from there. I love the way that Jones draws zombies. There's a walker in this issue that has a horde of snakes coming out of his stomach. It's some seriously scary stuff. A zombie looking to eat my brains is one thing, but add a bunch of snakes wiggling around in its belly as it shuffles towards me and I just want to throw up and die in no particular order. This time around we're also shown a new meaning to the term "guerilla warfare" as it's revealed that Charlie has some pet zombies tied to a dock under water. They lie in wait for an Allie ship to come by and then cut the lines. It's a pretty fierce attack and Jones draws it very well.
'68: Scars is a fast-paced zombie comic but it manages to stand out in a sea of others that have flooded the market as of late. As with most of them, it's not a story about the undead, but the survivors. In this case, it's not just a band of refugees holding out hope of rescue in a shopping mall. It's the entire world. They've been held hostage and they are struggling to make it through each day.
|Alabaster: Wolves #5
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Caitlin R. Kiernan
Illustrated by Steve Lieber
$3.50, 25 Pages
Dancy Flammiron's journey reaches its destination. She's guided to this ancient house by a herd of werewolves, but she's not alone. Maisie, the ghost of the lycanthrope she killed in the first issue, is along for the ride as well as her talking blackbird. The four-headed angel that was once her protector and commander appears to her once more and it is not amused. It's like a last ditch effort to get Dancy to turn back. She refuses and finally stands up to the seraph for one final time. The results are drastic.
When they finally enter the estate, they're lured deeper and deeper into the building by the owner, the man behind the werewolves. He's much more than that though and he's not ready to allow this little albino girl put a stop to his grand plan.
Artist Steve Lieber amps up everything this month. He gets to draw just about every monster and creature that's graced the pages of the series to date. The fearsome four-headed angel with its flaming sword is only in a few panels, but they are memorable. This thing makes an impression. The transformation of the master is what seals it for me. It's a very subtle metamorphosis, reminiscent of Maisie's in the first issue. It happens over the course of several pages. At first his face and hands get more hairy, then his ears pop out and his eyes start glowing red until he's a full blow werewolf.
Greg Ruth drew another fantastic cover for Alabaster: Wolves, too. Each month has been pretty stellar, but this one might be my favorite, featuring a bloodied Dancy, knife in hand with pages of a large book spread out behind her to mimic angel's wings. It's a great effect.
Alabaster: Wolves was a quick read, but it left me wanting so much more. Dancy is a strong female character that I hope we see again. She goes through some major changes in this run.
|Call of Wonderland #3
Published by Zenescope Entertainment
Written by Dan Wickline
Illustrated by Allan Otero and Matt Triano
$3.99, 25 Pages
The ham-fisted amalgamation between Wonderland and H.P. Lovecraft stumbles along for another month in Call of Wonderland. Julie and Salome battle a weird snake woman who came out of a chick's tattoo. Lovecraft's journal sort of explains why he started writing madness fueled horror stories as they're made as a barrier to keep the demons out of our world. (Yeah, it didn't make sense to me either.) There's a cop on the trail of the two girls and a dude going by "The Red Knight" tearing his way through Wonderland looking to destroy all reality for some reason that has yet to be discussed.
This mini-series is unnecessary and awkward. One of the things that makes Zenescope really stand out -- aside from the busty women in skimpy clothes -- is its twisted take on fairy tales. Its done a great job with stories such as the original Wonderland series and Red Riding Hood. Pulling Lovecraft into it feels like a cheap way to bring in more horror. The thing is, everyone has done Lovecraft. Every week I'm reading about some new Cthulu story and most of them are mediocre at best. Call of Wonderland is no different. It's trying desperately to link the two ideas, but it just doesn't work. I get it. Wonderland is a place that thrives on madness and Lovecraft's work is as loony as they come, but they're too entirely separate pieces that don't go together. This is not chocolate and peanut butter.
The tie-in to Wonderland is almost a second thought with this Red Knight character. He started killing a bunch of people just because. He hasn't shown up anywhere else to my knowledge, so I don't care about him or his actions at all.
The artwork on this issue is shared between Allan Otero and Matt Triano. I don't know who is responsible for which pages, but it's a pretty great looking issue. The snake monster in the tattoo parlor is badass, although some of the shots with the girls wrapped in its limbs were a bit too similar to tentacle porn for my tastes. Towards the end of the book there's a full page spread of a woman getting her chest ripped open and a bunch of tentacles flying out. It's a great shot and really stands out in the issue. Very creepy.
This was the penultimate issue of Call of Wonderland, so thankfully there's only one more chapter. Judging from the teaser for the finale, this whole mess is all just a ploy to set up the next Queen of Hearts which could have been done in a much better way. We'll see how it goes next month.
Published by Image Comics
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Mike Norton
$2.99, 32 Pages
It's another day in the small town in Wisconsin where the dead came back to life. They didn't want brains or the flesh of the living. They just went back to their regular lives. These residents -- dubbed "revivers" by the locals -- cannot be killed. The book opens up with old woman Arlene Dittman who had her scalp cut off in the last issue. When it gets placed back on, she pops right up again.
Officer Dana Cypress has her own problems as she just discovered that her sister, Martha is a reviver too. Now she has two mysteries on her hands. She's trying to figure out just why all these people came to life as well as who killed her sister to begin with. She's doing all this while struggling to hold together life as a single mother under her over-bearing father who is also the sheriff of the town.
We're introduced to a few other characters this month such as Mr. Abel, a would-be demonologist who is getting all kinds of calls now that the dead have returned. He's a con man but I think there's more to him. His scenes and most of the others, serve to further the story in bits and pieces. This issue is a slow burn and is certainly less shocking than the debut issue, but I'm so wrapped up in the story already.
Mike Norton's art continues to impress. The characters look so normal that it's startling when they encounter something awful. It's really like Norton is luring you into this false sense of security. Everything looks OK and after a few pages, you're at ease and then something creepy happens, putting you on edge.
Revival is subtitled as "Rural Noir" and that's a good way to describe it, but I don't think it's enough. There's a supernatural element to this and there's a lot of questions. Being the anxious nerd that I am, I can't wait to have them answered.
Published by Image Comics
Written by Ed Brubaker
Illustrated by Sean Phillips
$3.50, 32 Pages
More secrets are explored in the mysterious life of Josephine, the woman that doesn't age. This time we're in Hollywood in the 1970s as she comes into possession of a film reel that would be very damaging to certain people. B-movie actor Miles has become infatuated with Jo and finds himself doing things he wouldn't do for any other girl. She has that effect on men. What kind of connection does she have to this cult that's making the rounds in town?
Ed Brubaker knows how to write some damn good noir-style comics. Fatale is no different. I have a million questions, but I don't care. Just take a look at this sample from the book: Some girls liked to rub salts in your wounds, she preferred broken glass. How can you not love that? This world is rough and dirty and edgy and a million other adjectives, but what it gets down to is that it's really well done.
Aiding in this story as always is Sean Phillips. He captures the 1970s era women perfectly. You could easily see these chicks in a dozen different movies from that time period or on Charlie's Angels. Colorist Dave Stewart made a lot of the scenes really pop. Whether it's the subdued tones of the cemetery scene or the street where Miles meets up with some girls from the Method Church, it just really stands out.
Also out this week in the wide world of horror comics...
- Hellblazer #294 (Vertigo)
- Saucer Country #6 (Vertigo)
- Vampirella vs Dracula #6 (Dynamite Entertainment)
- Witchblade: Demon Reborn #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
- Crow #2 (IDW Publishing)
- Deadworld War Of The Dead #3 (IDW Publishing)
- Walking Dead #101 (Image Comics)
- Dark Tower: Gunslinger - Man In Black #3 (Marvel Comics)
- Homecoming #1 (Aspen Entertainment)
- Crossed Badlands #11 (Avatar Press)
- Ferals #7 (Avatar Press)
- Ursa Minor #2 (Big Dog Ink)
- Lady Death #20 (Boundless Comics)
And in graphic novel news...
- B.P.R.D.: Hell On Earth - Vol 3: Russia (Dark Horse Comics)
- Infestation 2: Vol 3 (IDW Publishing)
- Betrayal Of The Planet Of The Apes (BOOM! Studios)
- Cats Cradle: Vol 1 - Golden Twine (Kids Can Press)
That about does it for this week's edition of Funny Book Splatter. You've heard my thoughts for the horror comics out this time around, but I want to hear yours. Sound off in the comments!
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